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06-25-2018, 07:48 AM   #1
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K3ii or K1

I currently have a K5 and it has worked well for me the past many years. I am having a hard time deciding which body to upgrade to.
I know if I go to the K1 I will have to invest in some new lenses (currently use the 16-85 almost exclusively), but that isn't a deal breaker.
I want either the K3ii or K1 for the astro photography benefits. Otherwise I am a landscape photographer.
Other than the MP increase what would you say are the biggest differences?
At what size print does the K3ii show it's lack of MPs?
Thanks

06-25-2018, 08:09 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Imaging resource rates the maximum print size per ISO if you want good quality, scroll down to "print quality analysis" Pentax K-3 II Review - Image Quality

Quoted from their article: Very nice 30 x 40 inch prints up to ISO 200; a good 11 x 14 inch print at ISO 3200; a usable 4 x 6 at ISO 12,800.

My guess is that for less critical work you can print larger. I've never printed this large at base ISO, so my max was 11x17" and it looked great. What is the largest that you've printed with the k5?
06-25-2018, 08:11 AM - 2 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Hales Quote
At what size print does the K3ii show it's lack of MPs?
Imaging Resource provides a good overview of print quality. Scroll down on these pages to see the 'Print Quality Analysis'.

K-3 II: Pentax K-3 II Review - Image Quality

K-1: Pentax K-1 Review - Image Quality

edit: posted at the same time as @aaacb

06-25-2018, 08:11 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Here's the link for the K-1 Pentax K-1 Review - Image Quality
Again from their review: Excellent 30 x 40 inch prints and larger at ISO 100/200/400; a good 24 x 36 inch print at ISO 1600; a nice 8 x 10 inch print at ISO 12,800.
06-25-2018, 08:20 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I have owned them both. To me the most important differences are:
- frame rate and speed. K-3 II has a much faster frame rate. If this matters for you, go for the K-3
- low light performance. Here the K-1 excells.
- Dynamic range: see above
- size and weight. K-1 is noticeably heavier. Depending on your lens choises this may or may not matter.

To me the MP number has become almost irrelevant. For my latest exhibition I had two K-3 shots (base iso) printed at 100 cm x 150 cm. With a bit of post processing they were just fine even for gallery use. If you do heavy cropping, extra MPs give you some leeway.

Last edited by PePe; 06-25-2018 at 08:47 AM.
06-25-2018, 08:30 AM - 3 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
Again from their review: Excellent 30 x 40 inch prints and larger
"And larger" ? Really as per usual, just guessing.

I own both the K-1 and K-3.
Anywhere there's likely to be wildlife or bird images, I use the K-3.
For landscape i use the K-1.
The K-3 is better at doing what the K-1 does than the K-1 is at doing what the K-3 does.

We have landscape images taken with the K-5 (my wife's) and K-1 that are virtually identical. Same tripod set, same lens, different FL to keep the field of view constant.

I love doing wildlife, macro and bird photography so for me, one camera it would be the K-3. But as everyone always points out, not everyone is the same as me. The K-1 with the 28-105 is a great set-up. Your landscape images will be top shelf, compared to anything out there, and it's also a great portrait and studio camera.

For hiking out door use, I'm finding my K-3 and DA 55-300 and 21 ltd. are a nice light "carry all day" combo. It all comes down to what you shoot.

If you don't do macro, wildlife, birds or hiking the K-1 is great camera.

I don't think my K-1 has even been out of the house for couple of weeks now. In that time I've probably posted 50 K-3 images. I just don't have a lot of opportunity to use it to it''s potential.

Last edited by normhead; 06-25-2018 at 08:38 AM.
06-25-2018, 08:32 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Hales Quote
I currently have a K5 and it has worked well for me the past many years. I am having a hard time deciding which body to upgrade to.
I know if I go to the K1 I will have to invest in some new lenses (currently use the 16-85 almost exclusively), but that isn't a deal breaker.
I want either the K3ii or K1 for the astro photography benefits. Otherwise I am a landscape photographer.
Other than the MP increase what would you say are the biggest differences?
At what size print does the K3ii show it's lack of MPs?
Thanks
I can't speak for the K-1, i own a K3 and K3ii i have printed as large as a 28X 36 frame at iso 100 and it was absolutley gorgeous. I have also printed a shot from a ballet from a pic at iso 1600 with aperture at 3.2 and i printed a 20x30 and it was sharp. So not sure what size you are planning to print up to but i am sure either camera is capable. If i could,i would get a K1 but it really would be for the image quality and low light performance since I shoot a lot of performing arts but i love the k3 frame rate.

06-25-2018, 08:54 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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Normhead's comment
"The K-3 is better at doing what the K-1 does than the K-1 is at doing what the K-3 does."
Is very telling.
I have a K3. Very satisfied with it.
06-25-2018, 08:58 AM - 1 Like   #10
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I note the OP appears to be from the US

if that is correct, there may be an opportunity that will cost some $ but might save $ in the long run

consider renting the K 3 II and K 1 and do testing under the conditions that the OP will be using the camera for

I have used Lensrentals.com with good results

there are other options out there
06-25-2018, 09:08 AM - 2 Likes   #11
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You should also think about what lenses you want. Currently there is no alternative for DA16-85mm for FF.
If only pentax would make high quality 24-105mm f4 ....
06-25-2018, 09:11 AM - 1 Like   #12
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If your focus is astro/landscape, seems to me that the increased dynamic range of the K-1 is a huge difference maker vs the K3ii. For an astro/landscape camera, the K-1 is very hard to beat from a price-performance standpoint.
06-25-2018, 09:18 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by SteveinSLC Quote
If your focus is astro/landscape, seems to me that the increased dynamic range of the K-1 is a huge difference maker vs the K3ii. For an astro/landscape camera, the K-1 is very hard to beat from a price-performance standpoint.
Used to it's strength, the K-1 is a very impressive camera for sure. I'd be very unhappy if I had to choose one or the other. For every day hikes I take the K-3 and leave the K-1 home. For sunsets landscapes, I take the K-1 and leave the K-3 home.There's no way to make this choice without losing some capability at one end of the scale or the other..

Right now, the K-P is probably the best compromise. that's gets you decent low light, high ISO performance and pixel shift. Both are big deals for me that my K-3 doesn't address. If I was going to have one compromise camera, it would be a K-P although I'm hoping the next APS-c flagship option will be better.

I have exactly one image to make it to flickr explore, and it's a pixel shifted K-1 image.

The accelerator chip is a definite improvement for APS_c (although it seems to be debatable how it does on the K-1) and according to Pentax engineers brings the K-P up to K-1 levels. And pixel shift can be amazing, for studio type images. A bit unpredictable maybe, but amazing when it works.

Last edited by normhead; 06-25-2018 at 09:32 AM.
06-25-2018, 09:26 AM   #14
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I too, shoot astro (Milky Way) and landscape. Late last year I went from the K5 to the K1 primarily for the benefits for astro. If only for landscape, I would have stayed with my K5IIs (I really like the body and the dynamic range at ISO 80). However the additional 1 to 1.5 fstops of light collection, I couldn't ignore. There is also a side benefit and that is shooting the Milky Way at a lower ISO (800), you get the benefit of additional dynamic range and better (star) color - especially in the core of the MW.

In terms of resolution or MPs, I really do not think that it matters. The K3 is a smaller sized ASP-c sensor, while the K1 is a full frame sensor. The pixel pitch tells the story. The K1 has almost the same pixel pitch as the K5, so the K3 with its smaller pixel pitch and thus has a more dense resolution in terms of pixels per unit of area.

I've printed large with my K5 - 20" x 30" which works out to about 150 ppi, and the results are stunning, even if you grab a magnifying glass (as the folks where I retired from do). Last week, when I had lunch with them, they were clamoring for more prints. The deal is I shoot, and if they want a print they pay for printing.

I also stitch, and even a small stitch of say 3 images in a single row, yields a resulting image that is able to be printed larger than what really anyone desires.

The bottom line is that for astro (MW landscapes), the K1 is essentially the choice. The folks in the AstroPhotography group here have done wonders with the K5 for deep space objects mounted on trackers. Their results have been nothing less than spectacular. I'll also touch on the K1 vs K1markII. I have the K1. I've decided to not take the upgrade option to the MarkII. The mkII offers little benefit to my way of shooting (low ISO). You can still get the K1 new for around $1600 and I have seen some K1's here on the forum's marketplace for about $1400. I also picked up the 15-30/f2.8 lens. I went through a buying service GreenToe and saved about 10% (the order was filled through Adroama - new, with warranty, no tax, free shipping).


Last edited by interested_observer; 06-25-2018 at 09:35 AM.
06-25-2018, 09:57 AM - 1 Like   #15
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You seem to have interest in landscape, so I would recommend the K-1 or K-1 II. If you were interested in wildlife, I would recommend the K-3 II for use with a telephoto or super telephoto lens, being that you would get more distance using a dedicated aps-c type camera (K-3 II).

I also have the 16-85, and it is a great lens. If you bought a K-1 or K-1 II and accompanied it with a Pentax 24-70 you would have a similar wide angle at the short end and a little less telephoto at the long end, and would have 36 mp (K-1 or K-1 II sensor) as opposed to the K-3 II 24 mp. There is also the Pentax 15-30 lens which would be wider, but it does not accept circular screw on filters.

Last edited by C_Jones; 07-06-2018 at 03:57 PM.
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